Test your taste buds! science experiment : Fizzics Education


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Test your taste buds!

Test your taste buds!

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • Four cups of water
  • Wooden tongue depressors, i.e. icecream sticks
  • Lemon juice; be aware of potential citrus allergies!
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • A taste test subject!


Test your taste buds science experiment - materials needed
1 Test your taste buds science experiment - pouring salt into a cup

Dissolve sugar crystals into one cup, salt into another cup and pour lemon juice into a third cup.

Leave the fourth cup as a ‘control’, i.e. something you can compare against.

2 Test your taste buds science experiment - tasting a flavour

Mix a wooden ice-cream stick through one solution and place it on the tip of your tongue.

Record the taste i.e salty, bitter, sweet, no taste. Wash your mouth out with pure water.

Now repeat steps 3 and 4 for the back, sides and middle of your tongue.

3 Test your taste buds science experiment - Tongue with taste areas

Were there areas of the tongue that didn’t strongly sense the taste?

Now repeat the steps 3, 4 and 5 for the other solutions.

What were your results? Now read below to find out true answer…

Maybe try blind folding a friend, can they tell which solution is which?

4 Fizzics Education making a cloud from liquid nitrogen and hot water at MAAS
5 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

Online courses for teachers & parents

– Help students learn how science really works

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6 A man holding a skull next to a human body model

Get the Unit of Work on the human body here!

  • Learn about the major body systems
  • Dive into the five senses
  • How does digestion, respiration, circulation and many other processes work and more!

Includes cross-curricular teaching ideas, student quizzes, a sample marking rubric, scope & sequences & more

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Why Does This Happen?

‘Tongue taste maps’ have been a classic experiment for primary school-aged children for many years. Many textbooks will incorrectly reveal that there are indeed areas of taste on your tongue, i.e. some areas taste salt better than sugar etc. The problem is that this has been based on faulty science!

There are no specific areas on your tongue exclusively for salt, sugar or sour tastes.

The popular belief that there are specific taste areas over the tongue comes from a German study conducted in 1901, where the information presented was not clear and thus misinterpreted!

Your sense of taste comes from small structures called taste buds, collectively called ‘papillae’. These papillae occur on top of the tongue, epiglottis and soft palate within your mouth. Sensitivity to all tastes is apparent throughout the tongue, with stronger sensations being produced in different areas due to differing numbers of papillae on the tongue. There are five taste sensations: sweet, sour, bitter, savoury and salty. Your food’s taste comes from a mixture of signals being sent to the brain from the papillae within your mouth.

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

Learn more!

Teaching about the human body? From 5 senses to the skeletal system, the Human Body workshop has you covered!
Get in touch with FizzicsEd to find out how we can work with your class.


2 thoughts on “Test your taste buds!

  1. I loved this website! It was awesome for both me and my sister! I was wondering if I could share this website with family? Thanks!


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